How to receive workers’ comp after a forklift injury in Arizona
Forklifts are powered industrial vehicles used to lift and transport materials across short distances. First developed in the early 20th century, they’ve become commonplace in warehouses and other industries across the U.S., including supermarkets, distribution centers, lumber yards and manufacturing plants.
Because forklifts are frequently used to move heavy materials, even with proper training and safety measures in place, accidents do happen. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 7,000 non-fatal injuries and 600 deaths from forklifts occur annually.
Common causes of forklift accidents
Below are some of the most common reasons that forklift accidents occur.
Many companies hire employees with little or no experience operating forklifts and fail to properly train them, which can lead to accidents. Forklift operators need training and practice before operating a forklift or any type of heavy machinery, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the equipment or the facility’s layout.
Poorly maintained equipment
Forklifts should be regularly inspected by trained mechanics to make sure they’re safe to use and in good working order. If an operator has any doubts about the condition of their forklift, they shouldn’t use it until it’s been inspected by a mechanic and repaired if necessary.
Failure to communicate
Failure to warn fellow employees that you’ll be operating a forklift near their workspace can result in injury. Always be sure to watch for others while transporting any load, and adhere to proper safety procedures when turning corners or backing up.
Unstable or heavy loads
Forklifts are designed to safely lift and transport heavy items—but only if they’re properly secured and balanced. If an item is improperly loaded onto a forklift truck or if it’s too heavy for the capacity of the vehicle, it could tip over and lead to serious injuries or even death for those in close proximity to the falling objects.
Riding with an elevated load
Forklifts should always be operated with loads in the lowest position possible. Failure to lower a load during transportation can cause the forklift to tip or the load to drop, injuring both the operator and any nearby employees.
Common forklift injuries
Forklift accidents can result in severe injuries and even death. Any employees operating a forklift should be properly trained and adhere to all safety protocols to prevent injuring themselves or fellow employees.
Below are some of the most common injuries that result from forklift accidents at work.
Broken bones are one of the most common injuries that result from a forklift accident. They can be caused by a falling load or by an employee falling off the forklift itself.
Neck injuries can result from a sudden jerk of the head forward, backward or sideways during abrupt stops.
Muscle injuries to the joints of the hands, wrists, shoulders or back can result from repetitive movements and sitting for long periods.
Head and brain injuries
Head and brain injuries can result from direct impact with an object or after being thrown off a forklift if it tips over because of an improperly carried or heavy load.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries are common after forklift accidents because they often result in a sudden impact to the head or back. This can cause the spine to compress, which can lead to permanent spinal cord damage and paralysis below the point of injury.
What workers’ comp benefits are available to injured workers in Arizona?
Arizona workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means you don’t have to prove your employer was at fault for your accident in order to receive compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a forklift accident at work, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Disability and death benefits may also be available, depending on your situation.
There is a statute of limitations for filing a workers’ comp claim in Arizona. Typically, injured workers are required to file a claim within one year of their injury to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Failure to adhere to all necessary deadlines and filing procedures could prevent you from receiving any compensation for your injury, regardless of its severity or impact on your ability to return to work.
When to contact an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney
Unfortunately, the process of filing a workers’ comp claim can be complicated, and any misstep can result in your claim being denied. That’s why it’s vital to contact an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation attorney who can explain your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.